Sunday, May 27, 2012

St. Dominic's Church in San Francisco: Pope Benedict and the Beauty of Sacred Music

On May 26, 2011, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, the Holy Father published his views in a letter which heralded the primacy of Gregorian chant in the Mass, describing it “as the supreme model of sacred music.” Concerning so-called modern liturgical musical innovations, Pope Benedict wrote: “We always have to ask again: who is the true subject of the Liturgy? The answer is simple: the Church. It is not the individual or group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity.” For quite awhile I have been hearing about the ‘traditional choir’ at St. Dominic’s Church in San Francisco. Today, I finally got to hear them. I was blown away. As if the beauty of the Church architecture was not enough to transport you to another realm of consciousness, the music uplifted the soul to the ceiling. I have been to many Masses that incorporated Latin music and Gregorian chant; sometimes the effort comes off as forced or somewhat jarring. The St. Dominic choir effortlessly blended their musical accompaniment right into the liturgy. Reminds me of this further quotation from Benedict in the same letter: “The liturgy, and therefore sacred music, lives in a correct and consistent relationship between healthy traditio and rightful progressio, always keeping in mind that these two concepts - that the Council Fathers clearly emphasized - complement each other because the tradition is a living reality and, therefore, it includes in itself the principle of development and progress.” Originally Gregorian chant would have been included into the old Tridentine Mass, but the music at St. Dominic should surely serve as a model for other churches that want to include this timeless art with the Novos Ordo. If others are interested in attending the Mass with the traditional choir: the Sunday Mass is at 11:30am.

There is also a beautiful shrine (pictured above) to St. Jude located at St. Dominic's Church.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Knock-Out in New York: Dolan vs. Obama

I can not stop from being impressed by the continually courageous Cardinal Dolan of New York. This week, he and several other US dioceses, universities, and Catholic organizations are suing the Obama administration for violating their freedom of religion. Cardinal Dolan is also President of the USCCB. I think Dolan, and moral necessity, created an atmosphere in which the Catholic Church in America could stand-up against the Obama juggernaut. For Dolan is reforming the idea of the Catholic hierarchy in this country. I believe this is due to the line in which he emerges: down from Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and European and African Cardinals such as Schonborn and Arinze. Like them, he is solidly Catholic (i.e orthodox), but not overbearing or stuffy; he is gregarious and friendly, but also thoughtful and self-aware; humble while not becoming a doormat. I also love his self-deprecating humor, as it shows that he can keep his uninflated head down here on Earth. In addition, he is incredibly wired-in and media savvy. He can go up against the liberal-machine, and feel comfortable while doing it. Here he truly shines, as Dolan can expertly move back and forth between two worlds: the academic, intellectual and sometimes pretentious sphere of the universities and the elite to the everyday, common-sense existence of the ordinary Man. Pope Benedict is also a master at relating to the average guy on the street; for this reason his books are perpetual best sellers. As the Catholic Church always should be, Dolan has placed us once again as moral beacons of rational thought in a wildly confused nation.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Self-Righteous Liberal of the Year Award: Anderson Cooper

The perpetually annoying Anderson Cooper threw out his indignation at a guest that he invited on to his own show: a woman who claims to be a human “Barbie” doll. This is the same guy who has been publicly pushing for gay marriage. New flash: you can not pick your so-called freedoms. License is license. Here is what the liberal agenda has wrought: the attempted standardization of sub-cultures. Now, this includes everything from body-dysmorphic devotees to pedophilia. As a country, we are left without a moral center. What is right or wrong? Eventually, it leads to the desire to have all whims codified by the government. Unfortunately, there are always self-serving politicians who will pander to any electoral group in order to garner their vote. The human cost is immeasurable: the prevalence of teen-suicides, violent inner-city youth gangs, and a bizarre reliance on mood-altering prescription drugs.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Obama: The High-Priest of Nothing

In a just released interview, Obama's former pastor, Rev. Wright said: “Church is not their [the Obamas] thing. It was never their thing...She [Michelle] was not the kind of black woman whose momma made her go to church, made her go to Sunday school…so the church was not an integral part of their lives before they got married — after they got married.” The first thing I would like to write about this is: Dugh! Religion has never been a priority to the Obamas, and they have made no secret of that fact. For this reason, I am puzzled by some fringe right-wingers who claim that he is a Muslim. If this were the case: he has a very odd way of practicing. In reality, I think Obama is a rather run-of-the mill liberal ideologue. From my experience with extremist political causes in Berkeley and San Francisco in the 1990s, most so-called progressive movements in the USA are clumsily vampiristic. They drain the philosophy, rhetoric, and methodology from various political and social strains, then leave a lifeless corpse behind. This process strips the original radicalism from every idea on which they feed. For example, I witnessed the blind idiocy of several leftist groups who embraced Islamic extremism as a kindred stream of thought, only for the sheer fact that it included a hate for American imperialism. They foolishly disregarded repressive Islamic laws as mere cultural traits. Hence, the danger in the majority of liberal sectors as their practitioners tend towards severe short-sightedness and romantic delusions of utopianism. Obama comes from this same school of thought. In his bizarre ode to a parent he barely knew, “Dreams of My Father,” Obama wrote: “It was into my father's image .. that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself.” This reminds me of the gay penchant for idolizing male film stars such as James Dean, Cary Grant, and even John Wayne. They hopelessly hold-up these masculine icons in a desperate bid to erase their own insecurities. Obama has created a similar pantheon of gods. For Obama takes the anti-colonial instincts from his father's Marxism, the strident irrationailism of his step-father's Islam, and the moral relativism of American decadent sub-cultures and combines them into his own self-image of the benevolent ruler. What you are left with is a hollow deity bestowing a false religion of insincere egalitarianism and a slipshod duplicity towards the poor.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Gay Marriage Debate: Look to Fr. Damien

I sense that the rhetoric on each side of the gay marriage issue is getting very heated. As I think about this problem, I am reminded that yesterday was the feast of St. Damien. He went to care for the hated and the despised. He knew that these outcasts also needed love. It is a sad fact that so many homosexuals have risen to power within the political and social spheres, only to turn-around and persecute those that they fear will persecute them. But we must remember that this reflex comes from a place of deep-set woundedness. Personally, I would like to see more Christians, especially Catholics, go out and ask those in the gay community to return to the fold. This means that we can not shun them, but convert others through our own example. I believe the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph will be the wonder-workers here. We must love these people, prayer from them, and ask for the Lord's intercession, as it will be the only balm which will heal away their injuries.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama: The Master of Distraction

Suspiciously timed to coincide with Obama's so-called big announcement, “The Washington Post” conveniently released an ugly hit-piece on Mitt Romney: insinuating that he was involved in a violent anti-gay hate crime as a student. Here, Obama had again shown himself to be the master of distraction. He can not run for reelection on his abysmal record, so now, he is trying to refashion the election into a debate on gay marriage. Hopefully, the American public will not fall for this pathetic smoke-screen. He will leave no stone unturned in order to throw mud at Romney. Soon, Democratic operatives will be interviewing Romney's childhood babysitter: to find out if he ever burped on her. Surely that means he is a misogynist.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Movie Review: "The Avengers," The Return of the Hero

The Marvel juggernaut strikes again with the release of “The Avengers.” Although, I liked last years “Captain America: The First Avenger” better, mainly for its retro-World War II look, “The Avengers” is still worth an afternoon outing. If you have not seen at least a few of the previous Marvel movies, you might be a bit lost at first. This time, from the earlier “Thor” film, the neglected and ne’er-do-well brother of the demi-god Thor comes to Earth with hopes of ruling. In his corner are a race of cybernetic aliens bent on capturing a celestial energy source hidden on the planet. The various superheroes, Captain America, Iron-Man, The Hulk, all get-together to stop the invasion. Except for Captain America, who represents all that was righteous in our county’s past, and Thor, who represents pure benevolent spirit, (he is the closest thing these films get to the concept of God,) all of the heroes are seriously flawed. They embody the greedy and egotistical impulses rampant in society. Yet, to their great credit, they overcome these faults and offer themselves as self-sacrifices for the good of all.
I also find it extremely interesting the current fascination with all things super-hero. Over the past few years, most of the major block-busters have been big-budget reworkings of old comic book superstars. It seems that we have a serious lack of real-life heroes in today’s world. But do we? The mind-controlled media continually neglects the blasted bodies of our fallen soldiers retuning home from far off lands. Then, everyone questions: What are they dying for? Is it easier for us to grasp the clear black and white of evil versus good in these fictional movies? It seems that under Obama, the line between the extremes is blurred: Who are the enemies now? Should we negotiate or fight? These films do not equivocate. The most interesting section of dialogue in “The Avengers:” Captain America comments about himself as “old-fashioned.” One of the agents, who is listening, says: “But maybe old- fashioned is what we need right now.” Perhaps, we all need to look back at our nation’s history, and recall when we knew what America stood for. Should we always surge forward recklessly, or do we stand back and realize what worked in the past might just work again? Do we go back to our roots?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Please Boycott JC Penney

I just finished looking through the Sunday newspaper. I took a quick look through the JC Penney circular: it featured several pages of mothers and their children modeling the various cloths. Included in the families profiled were a lesbian couple and their children. Why? As I have repeatedly written, there are forces in this world and in our country that are trying to reinvent the meaning of normality; what is acceptable. Please boycott this ridiculous company.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Another Sad Day in America: LMFAO as the New Normal

This article caught my eye today: “A 6-year-old boy was suspended from his suburban Denver school for three days after school officials said he told a girl 'I’m sexy and I know it,' a line from a popular song.” No pride here, but I wrote about the sickening music group LMFAO back during the Superbowl when they appeared with the equally vile Madonna at Half-Time. Their song “Sexy and I Know It” was also prominently featured in an M&M commercial. I use to love M&Ms, but I have not eaten one since. Many thought it was all too cute. Not I. I am angry and annoyed now, as I am currently finishing a book about my experiences in Berkeley and San Francisco during the early 1990s when sub-cultural trends such as tattooing and piercing were still underground. Then it was freakish, today it is completely acceptable. As this poor child proves, these destructive subversive movements always work themselves into every facet of society: even children. It's truly sad.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Fall of the American Left

I had a front-row seat to the fall of the American Left. Back in my teens, one of the reasons I chose to attend UC Berkeley was because of it's politically radical reputation. In high-school, myself and a group of my friends, idolized the culture and music of the 1960s. I continually listened to The Mamas and the Papas, The Beach Boys, and The Doors. When I finally got to Berkeley I was sorely disappointed. Under the Bush administration, the so-called Left rallied heartily against the invasion of Iraq. A few year later, when Clinton mercilessly bombed Serbia: not a peep was heard. I could not tolerate this double-standard. I reminded my “pink” comrades about the heyday of protests back in the 60s during the Vietnam War. Those early days of campus insurrection did not discriminate against one political party or the other; although most placed much of their hope in the young and charismatic John F. Kennedy. Later on in the decade, these rather clean-cut youths, who also took a central role in the civil-rights and free-speech movements, were pushed out by the decadent hippie and free-love cults. For the most part, that is what we are stuck with today. I finally fell out of favor with the lefties, as I could not stand by and accept their moral turpitude and self-centered motivations. The Left no longer touts America or freedom, but the license to hedonism. And the Democratic Party had been more than willing to sell it's soul for their votes. Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Blessed Day of St. Joseph the Worker

The Annunciation of Joseph by Joseph Brickey.
Today we honor St. Joseph the Worker. This day often brings to mind quaint images of Joseph in his carpenter-shop, often with the young Jesus nearby. But we should also remember, the other works of St. Joseph: the trek to Bethlehem with the pregnant Mary; the strenuous journey to Egypt and back again to Nazareth. In addition, the many miracles he has performed over the centuries. These are the great works of Joseph.